Generation Next: The Debate
Investment in education and research and development is critical to developing a new model with a strong indigenous sector to deliver jobs.
Nobody likes paying more tax, but there is no early solution without significant resources for investment. Due to the current structure of the euro, debt options are limited, but also more debt transfers the problem to the younger generation.
Ideas matter, and young people in Paris in May 1968 did not wait for their elders to challenge the establishment.
Hayden:This isn’t about singling out one group. It’s about recognising that a group has been singled out: the young.
Ideas do matter, but the ideas are there, and they’re not that complicated. Part of this must mean paying more taxes. Some of the promises about this in the heat of the last election should not have been made. That’s all part of the mix. Another part is means-testing for automatic entitlements like the over 70s medical card and child benefit.
Proper retraining programmes or a tax credit for childcare could go a lot further.
There’s a view out there that young people are uninterested or complacent. This is false. They’re pragmatic. Protesting to stop your government from fighting a war is simple: stop doing what you are doing. Cease. Desist.
Taking to the streets can seem futile in the face of the vagaries of European debt negotiations, or “red line” negotiations between unions and the government. The State itself is disempowered. But a political shift is happening as we speak, and even if young people aren’t voting in sufficient numbers today, they will tomorrow.
Clinton was right: we must all be in this together. I’m confident that there is a right way to distribute the burdens. But once we find it, putting it into practice will still demand bold leadership from young and old.
Horan:There have been big losers across all age groups in this crisis, but I accept that unless there is change young people could lose out.
There are no simple or easy solutions to this deep crisis. However, a temporary solidarity levy on wealth and incomes, as Germany had post-unification, merits examination. The architect of the welfare state William Beveridge minimised means-testing to abolish the poor law mentality and gain the support of the middle class. That is still important. Of course today there are areas that can be re-examined but it must be based on fairness. We will be a poorer society if we target people over 70.
In a globalised world the nation state has less influence. The euro is acting as a powerful federalising force, pushing deeper economic and fiscal integration with profound implications for our economy. We must increase our capacity to use the European single market as a route back to prosperity.
Overall I am optimistic for the younger generation, particularly if those including myself who can afford to do the most are prepared to do the most.